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Smurfs are Belgians

On October 23, 1958 The Smurfs made their first appearance in a story of Johan & Peewit in the Charleroi based comic strip publisher's “Le Journal de Spirou”. Their creator Peyo had worked previously at a number of drawing jobs. But the introduction of The Smurfs into Spirou would change his life.

At first, The Smurfs were just secondary characters. But they soon became stars in their own right. After a few mini-albums, their tales began to appear as full albums. Then the film “The Smurfs and the Magic Flute” appeared, with music by Michel Legrand (he also sang in the chorus !).

Pierre Culliford AKA Peyo

We can consider ourselves lucky! After Peyo left school in Brussels, he looked in the papers for a job. Two caught his eye: offers for a dental assistant and an illustrator. When he presented himself to the dentist, he was told he was just 15 minutes too late! At the time, Belgium - particularly French-speaking Wallonia with publishers like Dupuis and Casterman was a hothouse of comic strip artists. Peyo quickly found himself working with some of the most talented comic strip artists, including his lifelong writing partner Yvan Delporte.

The Big Break

After struggling for some time, Peyo eventually got the break he deserved when he started working for Le Journal de Spirou Johan and Peewit were amongst his most popular characters. But in 1958, The Smurfs made their first appearance and went on to become the world-famous characters we now know. Although most cartoon characters are known through their books before becoming TV characters, the opposite was true of the Smurfs in the US. The incredible success of the Smurf figurines led to them being adapted for television. Yet the story of their arrival at Hanna Barbera and the success with NBC is almost worthy of a film in itself. How many people know, for example, that even the multi-award-winning composer Michel Legrand lent his voice to The Smurfs?

The Smurfs around the world

The success of The Smurfs is truly planetary. As everyone who has worked on the series recognises, The Smurfs are successful largely because of their basic appeal. And that appeal stretches right across the board - from mini-tales to pop songs and on to the exciting world of multimedia. Smurf material is now available on video, on CD-Rom and CD-i. The video games regularly top the sales charts. Theatre productions tour Europe. Yet each adaptation offers new challenges, which must be faced without the help of Peyo who died in 1992. But how will the world of the The Smurfs adapt to that of the 21st century? Well, Sony is providing us an answer to that question. And if the past is anything to go by, the answer must be: smurfingly!

* To read more and find out all about Peyo please click herefor more information about the Smurfs, please visit their official website www.smurf.com 

For more information about the movies visit the official website 

Our little blue men do also have their official facebook page

And to find out more about the other remarkable Belgians please visit this dedicated website and read the online brochure http://www.myonlinebrochure.co.uk/bto/didyousayfamousbelgians/

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Belgian Comic Strip: the best of the 9th Art
Belgian Tourist Office Wallonia 217 Marsh Wall London E14 9FJ Tel: 0207 531 0390 info@belgiumtheplaceto.be